Wealth & Debt

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cedar's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 7 2008
Posts: 96
Wealth & Debt

There are no new ideas here, and none of them are my own. After 2 years of studying I feel like I am swimming in a sea of information, and am trying to identify and distill key "truths". Here are my truths on wealth and debt. I welcome suggestions for refining these thoughts.

well being (as we define it today) = wealth

wealth = energy surplus (after producing food)

debt = claim on future wealth

rate of wealth growth (investment) = current energy surplus  + debt (claim on future energy surplus)


Debt is leverage which can and has been used to accelerate wealth growth (which would have occurred naturally at a slower pace without debt), assuming energy surplus can be increased.

If however energy surplus cannot be increased or is declining (due to physical constraints), then debt (leverage) will delay and then accelerate our decline to the new natural wealth level defined by available energy surplus.

My belief is that energy surplus is in terminal decline due to physical constraints.  With the possible Black Swan exception of fusion.

Rather than planning a smooth and peaceful decline in wealth, with investment in alternate energies to raise the new lower floor, we are applying debt to maintain current wealth by wasting it on wars (Iraq) to protect existing declining energy surpluses.

Our current strategy will only delay the inevitable decline, and make the new floor lower than it needs to be, and the decline will be much more rapid and much less peaceful than it needs to be.

 Regards, Rob

Set's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 112
Re: Wealth & Debt

One definition of wealth is described as an abundance of valuable material possessions or resources.  People require material resources in order to survive, but, most people want more out of this life than to merely survive.  People, like all forms of sentient life want to be comfortable; both physically and mentally.  A problem arises because everyone has their own, individual comfort zone.  Some people require large surpluses of resources in order to be comfortable while others just require a minimal amount of resources to feel comfortable. 


I believe that, in general, people who require the minimal amount of “creature comforts” are more secure psychologically because, they are not suffering from the fears that many “rich” people suffer from.  Anxiety over not having total control over their own future leads some members of what many commonly refer to as the upper class or elite to severe depression and even suicide.  I don’t envy their fears and I wouldn’t choose monetary wealth over simple peace of mind.


I would rather be poor and happy than rich and unhappy.  For this simple reason I don’t associate wealth with well being.    

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